Friday, December 26, 2014

Things to do : On the Cheap

So cheap has 2 meanings really,  low cost,  or low quality.  no one wants cheap quality,  but when it comes to low cost,  we all get excited,  just look at black Friday right?

I have been posting steps to making things work when laid off close to Christmas.

Step 2: No Parental presents.  While presents are great for the kids to open and get excited about,  as the parents,  my wife and I decided not to get anything for eachother this year.  That has proved much harder that I thought it would be.

  I don't mind not getting gifts from her,  but not getting her anything when there were only like 2 items on her wish list was a tough pill to swallow.  by doing that though,  we were able to stretch the budget a little more for some fun stuff.

We have been doing low cost for about a month now (since I was laid off) and since it is now the midst of the holiday season,  we want to be out doing things.  We obviously cant do everything on the cheap,  so I will share a few things that we have been able to.

Movie Night:

Who doesn't love some hot tea, popcorn, and a Christmas movie?  I haven't had microwave popcorn for a long time,  rather I make it on the stove. If you have never tried it,  here are a few tips.

1. DO NOT leave the pan unattended at any point in the popcorn making process.  The oil will ignite and start a nasty fire in your house if you leave it hot too long.

2. Make the recipe your own.  A lot of people will say how much oil,  salt,  and kernels to add,  and while following a recipe is a good idea,  feel free to put your own spin on it.  I always thought more oil would make the popcorn staler.  Not true,  not enough oil will cause chewy popcorn.

3. Serve hot!  There is nothing wrong with cold popcorn,  but right when you put in the movie,  or during the previews, take the 10 minutes,  and make the popcorn.  it smells good, and everyone will appreciate a nice hot bowl.

 Next,  Dinner with family. 

This is something we should probably do more often anyway,  but when we are invited for a meal,  it is nice not to have to think about cooking,  or grocery budget.  Plus I love lasagna.

Then:  Always have fun.  I didn't buy this,  but had some time to try it on.  If you cant look life in the eye and say during the hard times,  lets have some fun,  then the hard times are just going to get harder.

While Christmas is different this year,  it is still and always has been for us about God anyway.  He has opened my eyes to the fact that my job was not my identity,  and that when relying on him,  everything will be ok. 

Merry Christmas Everyone!



Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Layoff before Christmas

Let me start with some background.  A month ago I was laid off from my job of 5 years.  Completely blindsided,  and didn't see it coming.  I have actively been looking for a replacement career and have realized that 10 years in the industry is not as valuable to companies as a 4 year degree.  Basically I am no longer qualified to do what I have been doing my whole professional life.

It is a terrible time for something like this,  because even though I am a hard core optimist,  watching all the TV commercials about last minute gifts,  and even reading the blogs I LOVE with the gift ideas (which are great by the way) is getting me a little depressed.

I have noticed though,  that being forced not to be able to buy gifts,  has caused us to be more creative,  and focus on the other aspects of this holiday season,  namely,  you know our savior being born.

Now that you know that,  I wanted to share for those of you who may also have little or no income this holiday season,  some of the things we are doing to make it work.

Step 1:

We started Christmas early.  Maybe not the presents,  but we asked around,  got a fake tree,  and had it up and decorated before Thanksgiving.  Taboo I know,  but extending the d├ęcor longer has been great.

Even though my wife swore we would never have a fake tree (we live in the pine tree state after all) it has allowed us to keep it up longer, where a real tree would look pretty sad by now.
Also since her DoTerra business has been going so well,  we have been spraying the tree with white fir oil,  and since it's all natural, it smells just like the real thing.
Since Christmas is in a week,  I am going to keep sharing how we are coping on almost no budget, keeping the kiddos entertained,  and staying as happy as possible during "the most wonderful time of the year"
Tonight we have a fun activity planned.  Tomorrow I will share the details and pictures with you.
Enjoy the season!